The more civilized among us have never had the opportunity to taste moonshine, choosing instead to take advantage of the convenience, safety and legality of their local liquor store. However, like bungee jumping and replacing a shower curtain, it’s something every guy should try at least once in his life. If it doesn’t kill you, strike you instantly blind or get you arrested, indulging in this hardcore hooch will certainly put hair on your chest and give you a great story to tell the boys.
However, unless you have a relative down in Hazard County, you probably don’t have the number of a moonshine supplier programmed into your cell phone. If you want to make moonshine, you’ll have to take this into your own hands.
If you can keep a secret, we’ll give up our ol’ Uncle Vern’s Magical Moonshine Recipe. Keep in mind that he was a little slow. And illiterate. And this recipe was scrawled on the back of a bloodstained Chinese takeout menu. But, my God, could that man brew up some firewater.
Before you go running out to buy your bag of cornmeal to make moonshine, our stodgy lawyers insist we remind you that making moonshine isn’t just dangerous, it’s also illegal. This recipe is meant for entertainment purposes and anyone who actually follows through with it should be both admired for their ambition and mocked for their stupidity.
Just like any recipe, start by collecting all the necessary ingredients you’ll need to make moonshine: 2.5 pounds of cornmeal, 10 pounds of sugar, 10 gallons of water, and ½ an ounce of yeast. You'll also need charcoal for the final filter stage. If anyone asks, tell them you are barbecuing sugary corn biscuits for the local orphanage.
Gather the necessary equipment needed to make moonshine. Stop by your parents’ place and borrow a few large pots. If you’re lucky, you can also grab your mom’s pressure cooker. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy one, along with a length of coiled copper pipe. Unless you already own a length of coiled copper pipe, in which case we’d have to ask, “Why the hell do you own a length of coiled copper pipe?”
You’ve run all over town and aroused the suspicion of both your parents and the clerk at the grocery store -- now you are really starting to look and feel like a moonshiner. But there’s still a lot of work to be done to make moonshine before you can celebrate with a warm, liver-scarring sip of your nasty nectar. It’s time to get down to business. Boil the water on the stove until it reaches a rolling boil.
Add the cornmeal to the rolling boil and stir. Pat yourself on the back there, Jimmy Beam: You just made a big ol’ batch of mash! It might look like lumpy snot, but this gooey mixture is actually the foundation of your bootleg booze. Oddly enough, it’s also the foundation of the paste we all made in art class way back in the day. Maybe the special-needs kids who ate buckets of the stuff were actually just getting a slight buzz?
Let the mash cool down until it is just warm to the touch. Note: No matter how curious you are, do no attempt to eat any mash. It’s not dangerous, or even that gross, but it will harden into a nearly impenetrable lump somewhere in your colon and stay with you for years, alongside swallowed gum and that marble you ate in the fourth grade.
You can’t make moonshine without these final steps…
Add the sugar and yeast to the warm mash. If you yell “BAM” while adding any of these ingredients, immediately drive to the highest bridge in your city and throw yourself off of it. Or eat five heaping spoonfuls of mash -- it’s your call,
Set the mash aside in a cool, dark room and allow it to ferment for four to five days. These will be four to five days filled with conversations like, “Oh that? It’s a science project I’m doing with my nephew,” or “What, you think I’m making moonshine or something?”
The mash is ready when it stops bubbling. At this stage, it is technically known as sour mash. Unless you are suicidal or lack taste buds, you’ll probably just want to take our word on the “sour” part.
Put this newly fermented sour mash into the pressure cooker and carefully bring it up to exactly 173 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature at which the alcohol molecules in the mixture wake up from a boozy stupor, rub their little bloodshot eyes and slowly rise to the surface.
You’ll need a bit of your MacGyver-savvy here. Affix the coiled copper pipe to the vent of the pressure cooker. Run most of the copper coils through cold water and place the opposite end into a separate clean container. As the vapors pass through the cold copper tubing, they condense into a clear, pungent liquid. Some call it white lightning or mountain dew or even rotgut, but you can call it what it really is -- moonshine.
OK, it’s not quite moonshine yet. Filter the quasi-moonshine through charcoal a few times to remove grit, impurities and hair. Then, dispense it into Mason jars for the full moonshine effect and enjoy -- if you really can enjoy a shudder-inducing bit of nastiness, that is.
If you’ve done everything correctly, the recipe should have yielded about two gallons of moonshine. If you’ve messed up, you’ll either go blind, die a slow, bleeding-out-of-strange-places kind of death or feel like you’ve wasted an incredible amount of time and cornmeal. Of course, you could also just walk down to the Booze Barn to buy a gallon of Jack Daniels in about 10 minutes and not have to worry about poisoning yourself. But where would this country be if everybody just did the smart, practical thing?
HAVE FUN AND BECAREFULL!!!!!